Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum

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All News Posts (248)

Museum will be closed while we run boats in Tri Cities!

We will be running four boats at Tri Cities this weekend  July 26, 27 and 28. The Museum will be closed until 

we return on Tuesday July 30th. We apologize for any…


Added by David D. Williams on July 25, 2019 at 8:14am — No Comments

Holiday Hours & Closures





Added by David D. Williams on July 3, 2019 at 10:19am — No Comments

The hydroplane connection

In the ‘50s, males 18 and older had three choices: Be drafted for two years, enlist three to four years or try to find work. In spite of the impending draft I landed a job that offered excitement like meeting well-known personalities and becoming part of hydroplane racing at Stan Sayres Inc. Stan Sayres Inc. was a Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth/Desoto…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on April 3, 2019 at 10:18am — No Comments

Vintage Unlimiteds are Alive and Well

 By, Timothy Ramsey / HaRM

This past weekend, August 24th – 26th, many witnessed a lot of activity within the vintage unlimited scene as there were events stretching from Kent Washington all the way to Detroit Michigan that involved unlimited class race boats of all shapes and sizes. Below are just four events that we were aware of and there…


Added by Timothy Ramsey on September 1, 2018 at 4:07pm — No Comments

Hydros and Hotrods - June 3rd - Today

Our 4th annual Hydro's and Hot Rods Car Show brings attendees from around the northwest - featuring a large variety of beautiful vehicles and vintage hydroplanes on display, this FREE and Family-Friendly event also offers Live Music, assorted Food Vendors, Games and much more!

Doors open at 10:00am and the event runs until 4:00pm this afternoon, see you there..

5917 South 196th Street

Kent, WA 98032

(206) 764-9453…


Added by Timothy Ramsey on June 3, 2018 at 9:30am — No Comments

Hydro fever blends nostalgia with competition for die-hards

David Williams left his real-world job to live his dream. He occasionally drives hydros and works as executive director of the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum in Kent.

Seafair's hydroplane races don't hold the same place in Seattle's…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on April 23, 2018 at 6:00pm — No Comments

Pay 'N Pak in a pool!

The Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum worked with a Hollywood production company to film a commercial for T-Mobile using Ken Muscatel's beautifully restored 1973 Pay 'N Pak hydroplane.

The boat along with four museum volunteers traveled to Los Angeles on March 5th and 6th. The theme of the Commercial is that "Speed shouldn't be contained" so they put the Pak into…


Added by David D. Williams on March 21, 2018 at 3:00pm — 1 Comment

A Ron Jones Introduction - A Century of Gold Cup Racing

The recently published book, A CENTURY OF GOLD CUP RACING by Fred Farley and Ron Harsin, is dedicated to two extraordinary men: Ted Jones and his son Ron Jones, Sr., whose trend-setting designs defined state-of-the-art in Gold Cup racing in the second half of the 20th Century.

Ron was asked to write the introduction to A CENTURY OF GOLD CUP RACING. It contains a moving tribute to his late father. Due to space limitations, Ron's preface had to be shortened for…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on January 19, 2017 at 7:00pm — 1 Comment

The Master Speaks - An Interview with Ron Jones Sr.

By Anne McRayde. Reprinted from Skid Fin Magazine, 2003, Vol 1, No. 1

How did you first begin building boats?

You could say I was born with it. My father was Ted Jones, who invented the three-point hydroplane, as we know it today. As a little boy, I was able to go with Dad, and my three sisters, and Mom to the lake and watch Dad test. When he was out testing my three sisters, who are marvelous people, screamed and hollered. I stood there very stoically…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on January 19, 2017 at 7:00pm — No Comments

The Man Who Builds The Thunderboats

By Bill Ames. Reprinted from Science & Mechanics, August, 1974.

The Unlimited Division of the American Power Boat Association is the smallest active racing class of that group. This elite coterie fields less than two dozen boats each year, to compete in about ten races. Yes these few regattas attract a total of more than two million…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on January 19, 2017 at 7:00pm — No Comments

The Saga of Ron Jones

By Fred Farley - Unlimited Hydroplane Historian

Unlimited hydroplane racing owes a lot to Ron Jones, the Seattle area boat builder, who has revolutionized the sport so dramatically over the years.

If anyone has any doubts about the contribution of Ron Jones, Sr., to big-time boat racing, the outward appearance of the hydroplanes themselves should suffice. The boats of yesteryear were, for the most part, rather narrow, quite box-shaped, and less streamlined. They had…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on January 19, 2017 at 6:55pm — No Comments

The Famous Bill Muncey Dunking of 1979

By Don Mock

t was the 1979 Jack-in-the-Box Regatta on San Diego’s Mission Bay where an interesting, yet little known event took place. But it wasn’t until 35 years later that the story became even more interesting thanks to a photo that surfaced from photographer Bill Osborne. Besides a few lousy shots I took with a little cheap camera, this is the only other photo I’ve ever seen of Bill Muncey and the Atlas…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on December 8, 2016 at 5:30pm — 1 Comment

Steve LaCava passes away

The Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum has learned of the passing in late November of Steve LaCava, the sport’s Rookie of the Year in 1980. An experienced 7-litre driver, LaCava purchased the former Valu-Mart from Bill Wurster early in the 1980 season and entered the boat in three races as the Oh Boy! Oberto. His best performance was a fifth-place finish in the Tri-Cities event. He sold the boat the following year, but drove it at two events as the Miss Kawaguichi Travel Service. The Museum…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on December 5, 2016 at 9:30pm — No Comments

Battle of the engines: Piston vs. Turbine


Today, there is only one piston-powered unlimited hydroplane — Ed Cooper's U-3. It uses a turbocharged Allison engine developed for World War II fighter planes. The U-3 team builds most of its own engines, but it is estimated an engine like the one in the U-3 would cost $70,000-$80,000 to buy new. Allison engines run on methanol fuel and burn much more than a turbine. The U-3 burns 18 gallons of methanol a minute while the turbine burns 4.3 gallons of kerosene…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on December 3, 2016 at 6:40pm — 2 Comments

We have a lot to be thankful for at the Museum

Its Thanksgiving at the Museum. Great Food, wonderful friends, fantastic volunteers. . .

and a few amazing boats too!



Added by David D. Williams on November 22, 2016 at 6:38pm — No Comments

Thunderboats are impressive, even without the thunder

Reprinted from The Seattle Times, August 5, 2016

Sketched Aug. 3, 2016

The thunderous hydros are meant to be watched as they glide over Lake Washington during Seafair. But, for a quieter experience, you may want to see them up close at the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum in Kent.

The exhibit grew from a private…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on August 24, 2016 at 6:30pm — 1 Comment

Bill Wurster - Then and Now

By Fred Farley - Unlimited Hydroplane Historian

As the story goes, Bill Wurster was sitting in his pleasure boat tied to the log boom at Lake Washington in 1967, watching the Seattle Seafair hydroplane race. He made a bet with his brother that one day he would pilot one of those awesome machines--an Unlimited hydroplane.



Added by Hydroplane Museum on August 5, 2016 at 10:10pm — No Comments

Speed King – Meeting Chip Hanauer

August, 1982 – Hanauer brings home the gold at the Emerald Cup on Lake Washington less than a year after Bill Muncey’s death. Photo by Bob Greenhow.

Words & New Photos: Ozzie Wiese

Reprinted from Northwest Yaching Magazone

The chance of anybody beating Chip Hanauer’s record-setting seven consecutive Gold…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on May 29, 2016 at 9:00am — No Comments

Remembering Fred Farley

Fred Farley Remembered.

Unlimited Hydroplane Historian Fred Farley passed away at 3am on April 15 at the Thornton Terrace Health Campus in Hanover, Indiana where he was recovering from open heart surgery that he had had on March 17th at Kentuckiana Medical Center in Clarksville, Indiana. He…


Added by David D. Williams on April 15, 2016 at 4:00pm — 3 Comments

Aronow Introducing Unlimited Catamaran

Buck Thornton was the driver of the Aronow Unlimited in this photo published on Aug. 1, 1982.

By Joanne A. Fishman

Reprinted from The New York Times, June 28, 1981

For 17 years, Don Aronow has been the biggest kid on the block. And why not? It's his block, after all, the swampy stretch of 188th Street in…


Added by Hydroplane Museum on January 3, 2016 at 9:30pm — 2 Comments

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